Monday, May 19, 2008

Backpacking in Greece (Part V)

Sivota - Mainland Greece

Both Sivota & Parga are on the Greek mainland, in an area known as Epirus, Sivota being opposite the island of Corfu, which can be seen from the harbour. The scenery around both these towns is spectacular, huge mountain ranges can be seen wherever you look.

Sivota is by far the quietest, although beginning to be noticed. There are several ways to get here; you can get a flight from Athens to Preveza, the nearest airport. Then take a Taxi from outside the airport this journey will take an hour to Parga, or a 2 hour journey to Sivota. You could email Vasso from Isabella Tours and I am sure she would organise a taxi to meet you at the airport.

Another option is a flight to Corfu then a ferry to Igoumenitsa, there you will need to catch a taxi to Sivota (which should take 45 minutes) or Parga (which should be around 90 minutes).

Or fly direct to Preveza with Excel Airlines operating from the UK. Do not let these journey times put you off, i can assure you it will be worth it!

When you reach your destination there will be no shortage of rooms for rent.

Once in Sivota pay a visit to Isabella Tours (general tourist office) A must! Vasso or Georgia will help you in any way, whether it be finding accomodation or just a day trip. They also rent motor bikes and scooters from their office in the main street, make sure you remember to take your driving license with you.

You can change any monies or travellers cheques in either of their two offices. Nothing is too much trouble for these great characters.

Upon arrival in Sivota you will probably be dropped off in the main street outside Isabella Tours. You are only five minutes walk from the beautiful waterfront. From this main street just past Isabella Tours you can catch a bus to Parga if you wish, the bus from Sivota leaves every day around 11-45am, and costs around 2 Euro.

Take note, the bus only goes one way and will not return to Sivota, therefore once you want to return, catch a taxi from the main street in Parga. Expect to see a taxi every 30 minutes or so, the cost should be around 20 Euro. It will take aprox 45 minutes. You may find them more frequent in the evening.

The motor bikes i mentioned before from Isabella Tours will cost around 10 Euro for the smaller engine size, i.e: 50cc, or 16 Euro for the larger bikes 125cc, this price is based on one day and does not include fuel which is extra.

There are many tavernas and cafes to choose from in Sivota, half the fun is trying new places to eat. You will find some hidden away near the main street and others on the waterfront itself. I never found any bad ones whilst i was staying here, which is probably a first for me.

If you like Italian, check these out:
La Ruota Ristorante
Mediterraneo Ristorante
Parasole Cafe-Ristorante

For great breakfasts try :
The Blue Coast taverna, situated on the waterfront, one of the first to be built here in Sivota. You will find cafe bars on the waterfront all of these serve drinks night and day, but may only serve light snacks. i.e : cheese & ham toastie.

My favourite bar is Bamboo Place opposite the small jetty. A very warm welcome is to be had here, especially once you are greeted by Andraes (the waiter) his father owns this cafe bar.

There is one music bar which stays open till at least 2am, this is situated at the start of the harbour area. Also Sivota has a couple of night-clubs.

Several nice shops are to be found in Sivota ranging from small shops selling cheap goods to more expensive jewelry. You will also find two minimarkets on the waterfront, and two supermarkets on the main road.

There are five great beaches to choose from, depending on how far you want to walk. Mega Amos is the furthest away, but has more to offer, i.e : volleyball, pedaloes, and sunbeds, even has a taverna/bar. This will take 30 minutes to walk, follow the main road, up towards Isabella tours.

You have three which are from 10 minutes to 25 minutes walk, at the end of the harbour there is a path up a small hill, follow this and you will come across the first one, from there you can walk to the next two.

My favorite beach has to be at the other end of the harbor, called "Bela Vraka" walk up the very steep hill past the chemist, carry on for a further 15 minutes you will come across a very nice House/Villa, opposite there is a dusty path going downhill follow this all the way down.

Then Paradise!

Take note: There is a Hotel and water sports centre which have started to use this beach aswell, they seem to have started storing their windsurfing boards here, which is a great shame! You can walk across the sea to the other side which is another beach on a small island, the sea here is only 18 inches deep. Worth the little trek, spend all day here and forget everything!

There are now four places to hire these boats from, and you will find them around the waterfront. We always use the one at the end of the waterfront, right infront of the two new big supermarkets.

There are many islands around Sivota, the scenery is amazing, so if you have the time, and here i am sure you will have. Hire these boats, they are a must! The cost should be around 35 Euros for 4 - 5 hours, this price does not include the fuel used, which will be checked upon bringing back the boat. You can also hire them for the whole day, price around 45 Euro plus fuel. If the boat guys think it will be rough out there, or the weather will change for the worst, they will probably not let you take the boats out to sea.

Just come back from Sivota, Who knows you may see me here next year, i will for sure be returning to Sivota. I am kind of addicted to this little place, have so many good friends here now.
On our return they all said to me,
"Your not putting Sivota on your website are you?"
"We do not want it getting too popular"

Other places worthy of a visit nearby are;
Plataria, River Acheron, the islands Paxos and AntiPaxos, Ioannina, Igoumenitsa, and if you have a couple of days visit Meteora monastries, one of these monastries you will know from a James Bond film. Spectactular sights!

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